Jazz Wars: Four earn outstanding solo at Jazz Champs in Ames

Thursday, April 5th, Cedar Falls Jazz One performed in Ames at 9 AM for the 43rd annual Jazz Championships to win a trophy and title of best 4a jazz band in the state of Iowa at CY Stephens auditorium.

After waking up early, loading their charter bus at 5:40, and performing at 9 in the morning, they waited for hours for their results as other bands performed later though the days.

Having sent in a recording to the Iowa Bandmasters Association earlier in the year, they were rated the best jazz band in the state of Iowa, so winning jazz champs might be seen as redundant.

By the end of the day, Cedar Falls took home 7th place out of 15 of the best jazz bands in the state. Valley and Waukee were selected to go on to the finals and perform in front of the judges for a final time to decide which of the two great bands would go on to win 1st place. After a great set by both bands, the judges picked Waukee to get the first place rank out of all 15 4a jazz bands in the state.

While the championship is competitive for the bands, ultimately the students are doing it for the fun of performing together.

Sophomore 2nd trumpet, Emma Cryer said, “This is what we’ve been looking forward to all year, this is so much fun. The competition itself is fun but being able to be around great players and experience great music is the best part”.

Going to championships for jazz is like making state for most sport teams, they compete with 15 of the best jazz bands in the state to take home the title of best band and to know their hard work, late nights, and early mornings were worth it.

Other notable events of this years Jazz One ensemble include their performance at Noche, a jazz club in Des Moines where they performed in mid January.

Students listened to professional jazz musicians and then performed for them and a crowd of paying customers who came to hear great music.

Playing a quick set of tunes for the crowd, students were given a great atmosphere to perform in and an experience of a lifetime that will travel with them.

They were also slated to open for the UNI Jazz Panthers, directed by Dr. Bob Washut at Bengtson auditorium in Russell Hall last Thursday at 7:30 PM and performed wonderfully and stayed around for dinner with the UNI jazz bands.

Dr. Washut also composed and arranged a song for Jazz One named River Road. The song features guitar player Eli Smith, and tenor saxophone player Johnny Hartleip.

Their set for this years jazz champs competition included the Duke Ellington piece Sepia Panorama, the classic jazz standard Body and Soul, and a latin swing piece named Cape Verdean Blues with multiple soloists on every song.

The band consists of great players but it is nothing without their teacher, Mr. Engelhardt. Engelhardt has lead the Jazz One program for years and molded it into the prestigious and fun extracurricular environment that it is today.

“Jazz One is like a family, everyone is supportive and everyone is here to play good music and have fun. Mr. Engelhardt makes jazz band a fun experience and I’ll remember being a part of this band forever. I’m glad to be a part of this band and that we have him to teach us and keep this band going, I think everyone really enjoys what’s going on here”, Eli Smith said, a freshman guitar player from Holmes.

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